Welcome to the Joy at Work Podcast with me, Dr John Kenworthy. In this guide we're learning the:

Four questions every leader should be asking, if they want to improve performance.


Improved performance requires growth. And without growth, our career is doomed to stagnation and eventual death. Am I exaggerating? Well, stop watering your plants for a few weeks and see what happens. Organizations that don't get better, don't improve their performance year on year are stagnating too.

If you has a leader, don't grow, then your career will stagnate. You may be exceptionally good at what you do, but if you want to move up the hierarchy, you need to grow into that position before you get given it because afterwards is far too late.

Plus you won't have developed your team to take on your job. So how can they promote you? How, then do we raise performance easily?


Our purpose and payoff being prepared to learn and change, and put in the necessary effort, is a critical step in growth and improve. And getting yourself and team members to regularly consider what's going well. And what needs work is essential. If you want to improve performance.


To do this, I'm sharing Four simple yet, oh, so powerful neuroscience-based questions that work to stimulate personal growth and the resulting conversations will take you in just five to 15 minutes of your time.


Use it once now, as I guide you and you'll immediately gain one benefit with a very clear action for next week. Use it with your team members once and you'll gain one improvement in performance next week.

Use it weekly. And you'll gain 52 improvements this year. The improvements don't have to be huge. Small gains add greatly.

Before I start with the four questions, grab yourself a pen and paper or a iPad with a pencil, anything to make notes and be ready to pause as we go through this. The four questions starting off with keeping the good stuff.

The Four Questions

If I were to ask you to tell me how was work for you this past week or so the chances are very high that you would reply along the lines of : “it was okay, good. not bad, fine, or terrible. It's dull, boring, and not at all helpful. Instead, I'll ask:

Tell me, what three specific things that you enjoyed and, or believe that you did really well at work this week?

So here, I'm going to give you a few moments to consider your answer, pause the player. If you're listening and write them down. If you can.

Pause the player and write down your answer to the question.

If this is your first time, you are probably finding this a little challenging. If you're replying nothing, uh, stop and find something go further back in time, if you need to, but do the work here. You'll thank me later.

Got three things. Fantastic. If we were in a live coaching here, I'd be probing into your answers to help you dig out the beautiful gems.

For now let your magnificent mind mull on these and let's get to the easy part.

What Needs Work?

Identifying what needs work.

Now, if you struggled some with answering that first question, you are in very good company. Pretty well, all of my clients struggle with that first question because, well, we're so used to dwelling on this next part.

What needs work. Ready? Here's your question:

What is the one real challenge for you that if you improved or changed would have the greatest positive impact on your performance, now?

Let me repeat that. And then I'll pause. What is the one real challenge for you that if you improved or changed would have the greatest positive impact on your performance, now?

Again, pause the player and write down your answer. Got one? Not two or more choose one. Is it about somebody else changing? Then think again, this is about you, your performance. Great. Awesome.

If you and I were in a coaching session right now, I'd be digging in to make sure that this is the real core challenge.

So I'm going to add on a quick question to help you right now.

Is there anything else that is the real, real challenge for you here?

Now, before you rush off and start, I have two more questions for you. Next, let's get you motivated.

Finding the Drive

Finding the drive.

What exactly do you want to achieve?

If you or somebody of whom you're asking with this is struggling.

Here's another approach. That's more specific to the change.

What will you achieve by changing this one thing?

Pause and write down your response.

Many clients find this difficult to answer, principally because we're not taught to think like this. Yet the most successful leaders do know what they want to achieve. Write down your answer.

Now that you know, let's ignite the touch paper and send you on your way.

True Empowerment

True empowerment.

How can I help you?

Here's your question?

How can I help you?

When you were asking this of your team, this question tells them that you are here to help them succeed.

And do please remember empowerment and delegation are not the same thing:

you delegate authority to someone to do something.

You empower someone with the, to do the thing and the authority to do it.

Delegation works fine when they know what they need to know and how to do what they need to do. If they don't, then and they need the power, which is the tools, the resources, the ability, the knowledge, as well as the authority to do it.

And if you need my help get in touch.

How and When to use This

How and when should you use this? Well, you gain one immediate benefit using this just once for yourself. Use it once with your team and you'll get one improvement next week.

Use it weekly and you'll see, 52 improvements next year!

Those improvements may be small, but they quickly add up and soon enough, your team will be doing this for themselves continuously and multiplying your impact and your performance.

What's Happening in The Brain?

Let's go and check in what's happening in the brain. See, if you've been going through this exercise, your brains, just gone on a bit of a roller coaster ride.

At the beginning by considering what you have done well, you're remembering positive, affirming strengths that you have displayed and you are feeling encouraged and good about yourself. Thanks to some Serotonin and Dopamine. It also, thanks to the Dopamine, reinforces those positive things to being repeated.

Then, by considering what needs work, your brain takes a bit of a dive. A little Cortisol is triggered, maybe some Adrenaline too. If it's an unpleasant memory and your motivation levels drop, you're causing a deep thinking, pause and reflection, weighing up and prioritizing changes that will have a real impact on your performance.

And you're already working out how to use your strengths, that you just talked, about to really lift these weak areas. By asking what you want to achieve, we reopen your brains motivation circuits to think of the future and your uncles. You begin to feel good about this. Thanks to more Dopamine and Serotonin, maybe some Endorphins too.

And then by offering your help to your team members, they'll feel great in belonging and trust from Oxytocin, and you'll be able to truly empower them so that they lift their performance, feel motivated,more Dopamine, and you'll be lifting their ability to lead themselves and others too. Multiplying the impact you're having.

And all it takes is five to 15 minutes of your time.

Time that you're more than recovered within a few weeks, simply because you and your team are performing better. I know, it's amazing, isn't it?


So here's a quick summary of those four questions.

What three specific things that you enjoyed and, or believe you did well this week?”

Question two: “What is the ONE real challenge for you that if you improved or change would have the greatest impact on your performance, what would that be? “

Number three: “What do you want to achieve?”

And 4th: “How can I help?”

How Can I Help You, Now?

Let me wrap this with that same last question. How can I help? I'm really asking this time. I use this approach with every client of mine at the start of every coaching session. They prepare for it with a simple worksheet so that it takes very little time so that we can spend more time on encouraging, developing, guiding, and empowering them.

Now, if you're not ready for live coaching, we have a fabulous asynchronous coaching program for this, and you can start a one month trial by filling in the registration, which is linked on the show notes.

Be greatly blessed. Bye for now.

I'm thrilled that you joined me here for this [email protected] Podcast, as I guide you in the Art and Behavioral Neuroscience of Expert Leadership, so that you can have Joy At Work and your Team has Purposeful Unity of Cohesion and Effort.